MARGINALIZATION OF WOMEN IN INDIAN SOCIETY

India, a state known for a giant diversified population having one of the strongest political establishments is presently not very strong towards its weaker section of the society, i.e., the Women.

LEGAL ARTICLES

KUNAL SINGH

2021-09-06 9 min read

This article is written by Adv. Kshitij Srivastava, Editor in Chief at Lawyerslawker, Delhi and is edited by Kunal Kumar. This article is a brief about the Marginalization of women in Indian society.

INTRODUCTION

India, a state known for a giant diversified population having one of the strongest political establishments is presently not very strong towards its weaker section of the society, i.e., the Women. According to the recent report of the Ministry for Women and Child Development, the Indian society is facing difficulties in developing the stature of women at par with men. It is reported that the concept of marginalization of women is not demolishing. The committee has found in general an increase in the result of development of women from that of its first report in 1971. The earlier report had found an immense failure of the state in providing gender equality. The issues resulted in the decline of sex ratio, disparities in the life expectancy of male and female, and many others.
The meaning of life recognizes dignity as one of the most important elements.[1] Therefore, it is necessary to protect the dignity of the women so that the state will be protected. The unimportance of women as compared to men is deeply rooted in Indian society. The various norms such as, preferring male child over the female, seeing girl as a liability and boy as a lineage to continue family, etc, are some of the evil thinking which needs to be barred at the earliest. The government of India has suggested many provisions to resolve such issues but ultimately fails because of the society’s religious or traditional beliefs.
Hence, even after drafting policies, providing campaigns, or benefits to women there has not been any expected outcome.   


THE FEMALE GENDER

The word gender means the distinction between male and female in terms of their social roles and not in the biological terms. Therefore, in a broad view it can be noted that women have been a less preferred gender in Indian society depicting that their roles have been considered less important.

Ø  ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE SOCIETY

The current role of women is at a very revolutionary stage, implying the social change they are going through from being treated as a family care taker to that of a working class. The involvement of modernisation in its true meaning has given an edge to the women society empowering them to have an equally important life like that of any other person. This has also created a problematic situation for them in which there is a conflict occurring between both the genders. The women have started to evolve to a more independent person deserving equal opportunities as others. Their involvement in every sector proves the complexity of the role they need to play in maintaining their inside and outside chores.

 

Ø  VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Since, the women have started getting uplifted in the society, this has resulted in a static increase in number of violence against the women.[2] It is extremely important to analyse the fact that it is the population of any state which gives the direction of development which implies that all genders[3] play equally important role in the society and it is highly necessary for us to understand this fact. The offences, such as femicides, trafficking, sexual harassment, rape, dowry deaths, harmful practices like witch hunting and other countless heinous crimes determine the thinking of our society. These not only degrade the dignity of women alone but also of our nation. Therefore, it must be understood by all persons that the violence against women violates the principle of natural law[4] that is protected by the Constitution of India.[5]  

 

Ø  REPUTATION OF WOMEN IN THE SOCIETY

It is quite clear to this point that women have been considered less important part of the society, but it is important to note that the portrait of women has also started to change from a meeker personality to a bolder one. The government of India has recognised the importance of women in every sector of the society. The female gender has entered the fields that were once known for males only. Their unique credentials have given the modernised world a new approach and standard. The reputation of women has just started to improve as compared to earlier times. It will only achieve its full length when the thinking of the society will shift from rigid to a more flexible and neutral approach towards all the genders. This can only be achieved through legal awareness and recognition of one’s rights and duties.

 

Ø  LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN

 1)     Constitutional

The Constitution of India has recognised many provisions that supports the individual rights. Through this the constitution not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures protective discrimination in the favour of women for neutralizing the cumulative socio-economic, education and political disadvantages faced by them.[6]

Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a), 39(b), 39(c), 39(d), 39A, 42, 46, 47, 51(A)(e), 243(D)(3), 243(D)(4), 243(T)(3), 243(T)(4), of the Constitution are of the specific importance in this regard.

 2)     Special Legal Provisions

The law/acts that have been provided as special provisions to safeguard women and their interests are as follows[7]:

1)     The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948

2)     The Plantation Labour Act, 1951

3)     The Family Courts Act, 1954

4)     The Special Marriage Act, 1954

5)     The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

6)     The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 with amendment in 2005

7)     Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956

8)     The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (Amended in 1995)

9)     Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

10)  The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

11)  The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1976

12)  The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

13)  The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

14)  The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983

15)  The Factories (Amendment) Act, 1986

16)  Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

17)  Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987

18)  The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005

It is clear from the above stated clauses that women issue has been able to get legal support in the society which works as a backbone for the growth of women community.

 

THE CONCEPT OF FEMINISM

The theory of feminism is one of the pillars of the concept of women empowerment because this is a direct approach for uplifting the stature of women. Feminism is a political movement and ideology that aims to advance the social role of women.[8]  The definition itself makes it quite clear that this ideology deals with the societal involvement of a person, thus, it would be extremely wrong to determine this theory through the biological differences between them. Feminism in its true meaning has a very wide application. If implemented properly, it could balance both the genders equally.  

A feminist is considered to be a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of all genders regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, ability and sexual orientation.[9]  

Types of Feminism

There are three conventionally identified forms of feminism:

1)     LIBERAL FEMINISM

This form recognises individualism as its central theory and quest for equal rights and opportunities both political and sociological.

 2)     SOCIALIST FEMINISM

This form has been derived from Marxism and advocates the point of subordination of women to that of men, having their economic role as being confined to housing only.

 3)     RADICAL FEMINISM

This form supported the point of view about the gender division in politics and society. As per the radical feminists “personal is political”

The concept of feminism in India has not been able to achieve its full purpose yet. There are many flaws in applying this concept, such as:[10]

1)     Many Indian feminists belief that this ideology is only for the women’s rights; whereas they must be intersectional and they shall take a stand against all forms of hate and prejudice.

2)     As mentioned before, they think it’s a situation of men verses women which is not true. It is the thinking of the society that needs to be changed as it does not make any difference whether the evil practices are done by a man or a woman.

3)     They forget the fact that the actual meaning of feminism lies in the choices made by any woman. For example, there are many women who prefer to be a house wife and not because they were forced into that.

Therefore, it is highly important to note that how this ideology could have the most favourable outcome for the society or how it can lead to further conflicts amongst the people.

 

GENDER EQUALITY

The concept of gender equality is the fundamental monument for demolishing the biased behaviour of the society towards women. Through this term itself it can be derived that gender equality means equal rights of women as compared to other genders in socio-political aspect. It empowers women to have the stand in the society, having the right of decision making and shall be able to consider themselves as a separate individual of the state.

Now, for understanding gender equality, it is extremely important to understand the concept of equality as well.

The meaning of equality is variable as it depends upon the context of the situation. Hence, there are different types of equality:[11]

 

1)     FOUNDATIONAL EQUALITY

The ideology that deals with the fact that human beings are born equal and their lives are of equal moral values.

 

2)     FORMAL EQUALITY

This is equality of individuals based on their formal status in the society, their rights, and entitlements; it also constitutes legal equality (equality before the law)[12] and political equality (universal suffrage and one person one vote, one vote one value).[13]

 

3)     EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

It gives the meaning that everyone stands equal chance in opportunities of life.

 

4)     EQUALITY OF OUTCOME

It refers to an equitable distribution of rewards. It is usually reflected through social justice, i.e., equitable distribution of goods.

 Therefore, it can be claimed that gender equality is not sexual equality because there is a difference between a man and a woman which cannot be considered equal. However, their performances are based on their capabilities which can be differentiated and therefore, it shall be one’s duty to recognise that gender equality refers to have equality among individuals and not having a preference over any sex in any whatsoever manner.

 SUMMARY

We have come across to one of the most controversial and complicated concept trying to understand the gist of the subject of marginalization of women. This subject plays a vital role in determining the behaviour of the Indian society in the upliftment of the women class at par with men in the context of opportunities and the stand they shall take to have equality in its right meaning. In this article, the following segments have been discussed:

Ø  The treatment given to women society and considering them to be a less signified gender.

Ø  The problems faced by women in achieving growth due to the introduction of Industrialisation and modernisation.

Ø  The role of women is highly complicated as having responsibilities of both in house and out house chores.

Ø  The increased number of violence against the women community showing the incapability of the major gender in accepting their growth which will ultimately have its repercussions on the nation only.

Ø  The women society has achieved a paradoxical reputation of both a goddess as well as a person dependent only on the major gender of the society for their own growth; they have not been able to achieve the image of a self-aware personality to its fullest meaning.

Ø  The recent era has given the women an equal importance in legal terms. The Government of India has recognised their value over the past few years and has attempted to bring equality to women whether it be constitutional, or civil, or criminal law.

Ø  The evil practices such as dowry, witch hunting, honour killings, and many other which derogate the stature of women have been abolished and been criminalised.

Ø  The ideology of feminism is extremely useful for the development of women community provided that it must be used in its correct manner and not in the sense to give priority to a specific sex.

Ø  The concept of gender equality stands as a pillar for the upliftment of the society for both male and female. Equality does not specify biological similarities rather it justifies that both the genders are equal in terms of their roles in the society whether it be economic or political or legal, etc.

 CONCLUSION

Now, having a proper summarised background of how we can approach one of the toughest debatable subjects in such a simple manner if we are familiar with the true meaning of the ideologies, it is time that we must conclude a solution.

The concept of women empowerment is quite achievable if we work as per the ideologies that shall be applied to a situation. The problem arises when we try to mould them as per our own convenience. The ideologies such as feminism, equality, chauvinism are always used in a violative manner and not in a sense to coordinate within the society.

Women empowerment constitutes feminism as its basis. After that the implication of gender equality creates the fundamentals as it maintains the balance within the community. Then only we are able to evaluate the concept of empowering women. The fact that it is the men who will empower the women is not right rather it is both men and women who have to coordinate among themselves in having the understanding of the outcomes of women empowerment on the State itself.

This can only be done through the awareness of one’s position in the society having the knowledge of their rights and duties. It depends upon the person having the leverage to help the unaware society, whether it be a female influencing a tribal community or a male discussing the possibilities to prevail justice to the unjust. 


Sources

[1] Maneka Gandhi  V. Union of India, 1978

[2] Statistics on violence against women and girls, UN Women Report

[3] Male, Female and Transgenders; meaning of gender interpreted in NLSA v. Union of India, 2014

[4] Principles mentioned in Universal Declaration of Human Rights

[5] Art. 14, Indian Constitution

[6] http://www.legalserviceindia.com/helpline/woman_rights.htm

[7] ibid

[8] Key Concepts in Politics, Andrew Heywood 

[9] https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-flaws-in-Indian-feminists

[10] Ibid

[11] Key Concepts of Politics, Andrew Heywood

[12] Art. 14, Constitution of India

[13] Art. 326, Constitution of India

Get in touch

Officce Address

119, Pocket-5, Sector-2, Rohini, Delhi-110085

Contacts

+91 87006 59855
kshitij@lawyerslawker.com

kunal@lawyerslawker.com